“Whan pyes (magpies) chatter vpon a house it is a sygne (sign) of ryghte euyll(evil) tydynges (hmmm).” 
Divination by counting a number of magpies or crows has been performed for centuries. Many variations of the rhyme are still around. Depending on cultures, the meaning of the number of birds varies. The only exception to the rule is that one is always bad and two are always good.
One for sadness, two for mirth,
Three for marriage, four for birth,
Five to laugh, six to cry,
Seven for sickness, eight to die,
Nine for silver, ten for gold,
Eleven a secret that will never be told.